Why is it that some people are always volunteering? They volunteer at the hospital, at the food pantry, the animal shelter, or the soup kitchen. They provide rides for people who need them. They help an elderly neighbor. They go shopping for a single mom. They help clean up litter in the park. The list goes on and on.

Why Volunteer?

What do people who volunteer get out of it? What drives them to give up their valuable free time?

There are proven health benefits in volunteering. A study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who volunteered at least 200 hours per year showed lower levels of hypertension than people who didn’t volunteer.

Volunteering makes you happier. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that people who volunteer one-to-two hours per week are overall happier than those who don’t volunteer. They also found that people who volunteered regularly appeared to be in better health than those who didn’t.

How to Volunteer

Volunteering doesn’t have to be something formal. My son has built a friendship with his elderly upstairs neighbor. They enjoy each other’s company and he helps her out with activities that are difficult for her. My wife, Janet, and I give an older friend rides and we often spend time with him just because we enjoy his company. Everybody wins.

To get ideas about ways you can volunteer, search online for “ways to volunteer“.

What does this have to do with customer service? When you volunteer, your attitude of service tends to permeate every aspect of your life. You just naturally look for ways to be of service to others. That has a positive effect on all of your relationships with customers and colleagues at work and friends and family on your personal time.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle suggested that the essence of life is “To serve others and do good.” There are many reasons to volunteer including how it improves your mental health, your physical health, your happiness, and your stress levels. The most important reason to volunteer, however, is because it’s quite simply the right thing to do. Aristotle was right: Serving others is the essence of life.

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